Gearing Up to Go Home

In just 2 short weeks, I will once again be returning home with a group of people who will be researching their Scottish roots onsite in Edinburgh. And in the meantime, I am gearing up to go home.

I am making my lists and checking them twice. Of course, as a genealogist, my lists are a bit unique, but I am sure other researchers can relate - cemetery addresses, church addresses, archive addresses, library cards, pencils, not pens, USB drives, scanner, and camera. Oh, and my passport, money and laptop. Clothes? Well, others would probably appreciate a change of scenery. Hope they fit in the case!

For most of the trip, I will be stationed in the old town of Edinburgh. I love Edinburgh. She is majestic, regal, medieval and yet full of life. I love the history that surrounds her. As I walk the cobbled streets of the old town, I get a deep sense of having been witness to history in the making. I wonder if I actually lived here in the 1700s or if it is simply the sense of now knowing all of the stories my mum used to share - the body snatchers, the anatomisers, the medical miracles, the public hangings, and the suicides from the Scott Monument.

I always have a list of things I want to do and places I want to see while I am in Edinburgh: cemeteries yet to be explored (this year I hope to visit three), historic sites to re-visit and new-to-me places. I have never been to Dean Village and have only passed through Leith, so these are on my hopeful list.

I have booked my historic tours of both the Old Town and Greyfriars graveyard. I have also booked an historic walking tour of Linlithgow, including the Palace where Mary, Queen of Scots was born. The day before my tour, there will be the unveiling of a brand new statue in honour of Mary. I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself. Like a kid on Christmas eve.

I hope to get to Prestonpans to see the battle site. Then onto Dunbar to see where 4,000 men were rounded up as prisoners of war, many then being transported to Massachusetts and starting the mass migration to the Americas. Hopefully, I will also get over to see Bass Rock where the covenanters were exiled/imprisoned while also waiting to be transported. A rough, out in the open volcanic rock, with very steep cliffs is located three miles off the coast of Scotland.

Not to lose sight of the purpose of the trip, I will be attending two genealogy conferences. The first is Who Do You Think You Are? Live which is being held in Birmingham. This is a three day event and on the same scale as RootsTech. I am looking forward to the experience, the learning and the opportunity to meet up with other genealogists. You can follow along on Twitter (@genealogytours). If I get the chance, I hope to also pay a visit to the Birmingham Library to see the records of the Middlemore Homes and hoping to learn more about my husband's British Home Child ancestors.

The other conference is the annual conference of the Scottish Association of Family History Societies which is being held in Stirling. The focus this year is on military research in keeping with the anniversary of WWI.

I also hope to get a chance to do some research. I have a farm or estate on my dad's side (way back) that I would like to find out more about. I am looking forward to reading through some Kirk Session records and, most of all, I am looking forward to hearing all of the genealogical adventures of my tour participants.

I will be blogging daily while I am in Scotland. If you are interested in Scottish genealogy or hope to one day make the trip to Scotland as an ancestral tourist, you can follow along with my adventures at


About Christine Woodcock

Scottish born, Canadian raised, Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator with an expertise in the Scottish records. She enjoys sharing new resources to assist others in their quest to find and document their heritage. Christine is also a lecturer, author and blogger. She is the Director of Genealogy Tours of Scotland ( and enjoys taking fellow Scots “home” to do onsite genealogy research and to discover their own Scottish heritage.

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